US-based tuna giant Bumble Bee announced a joint venture with Gathered Foods, which produces the plant-based seafood brand Good Catch. Bumble Bee will be working with Gathered Foods on the sales, distribution and logistics for the Good Catch brand.
“This partnership is a win for Bumble Bee, Good Catch, consumers and the health of our oceans,” said Jan Tharp, President and Chief Executive Officer for Bumble Bee Foods.
“It is critically important that as an industry we continue to find innovative solutions to decouple growth with environmental impact. Providing great-tasting alternative ways for consumers to enjoy ocean-inspired foods is a key pillar of our long-term commitment to ocean health.”
In January, Gathered Foods said it raised over $32 million (€28.6 million) in a Series B funding round that includes two key strategic industry investors: Greenleaf Foods and 301 INC, the venture arm of General Mills.
In the fall of 2018, the company secured $8.7 million (€7.5 million) in a Series A funding round. Earlier in the year it raised $5.5 million (€4.7 million) from Stray Dog Capital.
The round that closed Wednesday was led by Stray Dog Capital and Rocana Ventures and includes investors such as Almanac Investments, CPT Capital and New Crop Capital.
The net proceeds from the investment will be used for significant expansion in distribution across North America, Europe and into Asia, the opening of a new manufacturing facility, and new product and food service channel launches in early 2020, the company said.
The US plant-based foods retail market has been growing rapidly over the past several years and is now valued at $4.5 billion (€4 billion), the company said.
Good Catch's alternative tuna product rolled out in Tesco stores in the UK in January. According to the release by the company, the range has a proven record in the United States, with distribution growing to over 4,500 retail outlets in less than a year.
Who else is on the plant-based wagon?
Virginia-based Van Cleve Seafood developed a line that incorporates both real seafood and alternative protein options. The new line of meal-kit-style frozen products, includes wild-caught haddock from Maine that includes a "super-food topped" coating, as well as plant-based crab and pink shrimp that uses soy- and corn-free ingredients.
In February, cell-based seafood startup BlueNalu completed a $20 million (€18.4 million) Series A fund raising, bringing on a new crop of investors including SeaPak parent Rich Products, Saudi Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Nutreco and a suite of private investors, demonstrating BlueNalu's ambitions to begin distribution and wide-scale production in the United States and globally.
In December 2019, former top executive at Dutch shrimp giant Klaas Puul and Mowi Consumer Products moved into the plant-based seafood sector, launching a new company, Novish.
At the recent Fish International trade show in Bremen, German frozen food supplier Frosta unveiled its hew vegan, plant-based breaded seafood product.